Tiny Footprints

Erica - Zeeland, Michigan
Entered on September 25, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: birth, family
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I believe in the unspoken love of family.

Each time I tuck my daughter into bed, I see the evidence out of the corner of my eye. Just to the right of her bright white wooden dresser hangs a stamping of her tiny foot prints. Just above the perfect little ink print of her ten beautiful toes is her name scripted in a beautiful font that matches the day we named her: Alyssa Rylee.

Although, I wanted to name her Rylee, her daddy wanted to name her Alyssa; thus, the compromise: Alyssa Rylee. I must add, six months after our daughter was born, my husband confessed that he liked the name Alyssa because there was a “hot chick” named Alyssa whom he attended high school with only three years prior to recommending we name our daughter after her.

Regardless of his questionable naming tactics, each time I read her name on the soft pink paper, I return to the day she stole our hearts. Our peaceful Sunday morning spooning in bed was interrupted by an unexpected run to the rest room. So, instead of getting ready for church, I was on the phone with my doctor and scheduled to meet him at the hospital at 11 am. Since it was only 8:30 at the time, my husband frantically grabbed his truck keys and headed for the door, “I didn’t by it a tractor yet, I thought I had three more weeks!” he shrieked as he ran out the door. Now, although I wasn’t having any serious contractions yet, I was a little startled by his quick decision to leave me: pregnant expecting wife in labor, to go buy a tractor at TSC. About an hour later, he returned with a bag full of tractors, semi’s and trailers. “What if it’s a girl?” I asked him as I laughed at the dire urgency he had placed upon this shopping trip. “It doesn’t matter, my kid’s gonna play with tractors, even if Barbie has to drive!”

The rest of the day was relatively uneventful—compared to the tractor drama–until about 10:30pm when I frantically grabbed my just-sleeping husbands arm and moaned, “Honey, it’s time!”

My eagerness to hold her against my chest was unbearable as the doctors and nurses crowded around her heated bassinet. What are they whispering? What’s wrong with my baby? Why can’t I hold her?

It seemed like an hour before a nurse turned around and assured us, “You have a beautiful baby girl, congratulations!” She placed her into my husband’s arms and there was an obvious connection in their eyes as they stared at each other for the first time. It was at that moment I noticed the steady stream of tears that were trailing down his face and onto the tightly wrapped blanket that coddled our beautiful daughter. Watching them was like watching a play by play touchdown replay in slow motion, capturing every aspect of the moment: his smile, the way she naturally fit into the crook of his arm, even the smell of the room.

I was fascinated watching the two of them, once complete strangers, now standing so naturally as father and child. As I stumbled upon the realization that he was a natural father, my motherly instincts kicked into full force reminding me that I had become a natural mother as well. “Can I hold her?” It was at that moment I realized the whole time he was whispering into her ear and sprinkling her face with tiny baby kisses, I had been holding out my arms, reaching for her.

As he gently placed her into my cradled arms and sat beside me on the hospital bed, he leaned over and stared deep into my eyes and in the softest voice, whispered,

“I love you, I love you both”. And through the mix of tears between our cheeks we silently agreed that this was the most important day of our lives. More than our first date, more than our first kiss, even more important than our wedding day; because this day marked the strongest connection between us. Stronger than all our other “firsts” put together. We, together, had brought this beautiful tiny angel into this world. A unique blend of each of us, she instantly became our number one promise and purpose to each other.

Nearly three years later, the events of that night, January 15, 2006, rewind from the images that have been forever etched in my heart. Sure, we have our fights, our struggles, even our doubts. But, the bottom line is, he loves us both. His eyes promised me that day and they remind of that promise every time we share glances while admiring and taking pride in all the silly and amazing things she does today.

And if ever I doubt that, I have these ten beautiful toes hanging on the wall to remind me of the unspoken love of a real family. This I believe.